Thursday, March 22, 2012
RADIO BROADCAST / WFCR
North Adams, Massachusetts-based Hoosac Bank today got a 3 million dollar shot in the arm from the state treasury, following its success in lending more than 4 million over the last year to small businesses in Berkshire County. And Pittsfield’s Berkshire Bank just qualified for up to 5 million in deposits from the state as well. It’s all part of a program initiated by state treasurer Steven Grossman that aims to deposit state funds that had largely been placed with overseas firms, closer to home.
“We looked around and found the bulk of our reserve deposits were sitting in Europe, Australia and Asia. And I said something’s really wrong with this picture. Why is our money sitting in banks outside the us when it should be sitting in banks that increase their lending in Massachusetts to small businesses by a billion dollars in the worst days of the recession?”
Since the program began last year, more than 200 million dollars has been repatriated to Massachusetts banks. In return, they must provide a competitive interest rate, insure the funds, agree to lend their funds to in-state small businesses and post the funds’ use on the web.
Grossman plans a visit to the Berkshires tomorrow, where he will visit with the banks, as well as a Pittsfield tool-making company, Starbase Technologies, which Grossman says has been able to add dozens of workers, in part with the help of a loan made possible by the deposit program. Other western Massachusetts institutions that are now holding state deposits for loans to small businesses include Chicopee Savings Bank, Greenfield Co-operative Bank , Nuvo Bank and Trust Company in Springfield, and Westfield Bank.